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Provincial lament

When you go to school and vow to yourself and to your school mates what you’re going to do with your life, it’s in the context of the world you know. It’s the same within families, neighborhoods or home towns. Metropolitan center of the world

I’m feeling the pull of my father’s homeland, where life changes little and what you’re doing is charted against the traditional long standing roles. What does it matter to have accomplishments outside of that world? In the New World, lives are expended to naught, memories fade, families move on, lives spent are ephemeral. In the Old World, stone is laid upon stone. Stories can be told about those who moved away, but the relationships that matter are among those who stayed.

It seems to us natural that at each new stage of development a person sets new goals and ambitions, abandoning the previous. Yet we admire the person who sticks to their childhood dreams.

I remember thinking when I first started college that I’d like to come back to my alumni reunion with an exotic car and a nineteen year old blonde on each arm. I wasn’t thinking at the time they’d be daughters. How completely maturity can overtake us. But every so often I think about that goal. If I don’t make that return, to whom will my life have been accountable?

I have yet to go to any of my reunions and I am living a moderately successful life in an altogether other world. I live in the America’s New World, the world Out West. We have our natives here, as anywhere, and I sense that my roots, while earnest and yielding many friends, will take only to dust. Ultimately I will have been nomadic. I feel I’m offering only that to my children as well.

Is it possible to grow up in a world that you don’t outgrow? Can you raise a child within a world at large, such that their aspirations take in the world community right from the beginning? I’m thinking of a place with performing arts, literary circles, musicians, artists, schools, galleries, museums, social leaders, business innovators and global decision makers. Everything the provinces have not.

Otherwise I’m not certain that a life rooted in the Old World is any more valuable than that of a nomad, except for a more permanent headstone. But if you aspire to heights somewhere above materialism but below selfless transience, it’s looking to me like the provinces are nowhere to get a firm start.

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